Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 WIP Challenge

I decided to try to the up for a challenge WIP challenge this year. Only I'm tweaking it a bit and only starting out with six projects. If I complete these six by June 21st I will then add six more to the stack, once those six are completed, I'll see what three projects look promising for end of year finishes. I always start challenges and SALs with so much hope. This year I'm being realistic. I have pictures of my first three WIP, the weather has been much too dreary here to take pictures of the other three. So I wanted to post this now before I changed my mind and when I post again I will have the most current pictures of all six projects, and maybe have my full fifteen projects decided upon. This is Jane Atkinson by the Scarlet Letter. According to my records this piece was last photographed on February 23, 2009. I love Jane, truly, madly, deeply and would love to finish her early this year. Not sure that will happen, that over 1 verse is a killer. I'm stitching Jane on 36ct Flax linen and using good old DMC. The colors are much brighter than what you see in the picture which is part of Jane's charm.
Above you see Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie. I had hoped to finish this project before the end of this year but as you can see that ain't happening. I know I have stitched more on this block but can't seem to find a picture. This photo was snapped on July 28, 2010. I'm stitching Black'd Skie on 40ct Vintage Pear and using the Pure Palette Silks. They are awesome to stitch with.

And Long Dog's Sonne Spotte Rounds out my top three. I'm using a mix of GAST and DMC and stitching on 36ct creme brulee I believe. This picture was taken on April 15, 2009.
The other three projects that will be seeing lots of action the first part of 2011 are Handwork's Frances Eden, Scarlet Letter's Emma Lerch and Long Dog's Moulin Rouge.
I'm looking forward to this WIP challenge and hope I can keep up my mojo and get these projects completed by June. Unless something unforseen happens I can see this as a very reasonable goal.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Not Fa La La La La La La

But La D Da Da Da or Tah Da De Da De Da:

In the Garden
La D Da
40ct lambswool(I think)
DMC floss

Why yes Virginia there is a finish before Christmas. BELIEVE! This morning while watching LOTR: The Two Towers I put the last stitch into the border. It was nice to actually wrap something up before Christmas. Yeah, pun intended, because I'm a dork like that.

No other news to speak of other than I scored this nifty bowl thrifting last week. Right now it's buried under books and DVDs while we attempt one more time to move the TV armoire but even as emptied out as it is it still won't budge. We are afraid to remove the tv from the top because we will never get it back up there because it's almost as heavy as the aforementioned armoire.
The tree is leaning against the living room as I have stated that I will not put up the tree until the living room is rearranged because I've determined that every single thing wrong in my life is directly related to the poor positioning of the tv armoire. My world would be all rainbows and unicorns if only we could move that armoire.
I did mention previously that I am in the throes of perimenopausal insanity? Oh yes, the crazy is coming round full force these days. It's amazing what small thing determines the quality of my life.
Now back to working on Rachael Holmes and the hope to have her completed before the ball drops in Times Square.
Coming soon:
My 2011 WIP Challenge List
My 2011 Crazy January Challenge List

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dispatch From the Land of Unfinished Projects

How's everybody doing? Getting ready for your holiday, Christmas, Festivus, etc. celebrations? Things here have been busy. I was recently inspired by this post:

Pleasant View Schoolhouse: Getting Started on a Scrap Quilt

And determined that maybe I let myself get too sucked into the perfection of quilting. If my seams don't match up I'm not worthy enough to quilt. If my layout sucks, I shouldn't have wasted my time. I had it in my head that any sewing or quilting I did must be perfect or I was doing nothing but wasting my time and money. So I read Anna's post and decided that some random scrap piecing was in order. I had been agonising for a while over the layout and colors for my oldest son's quilt. He likes green, he's loud and a true wild child. Over the last year or two I had been gathering the random green fat quarter, a bit of green yardage and then pulled some yellows and blues and an orange or two from the stash because all green seemed a little sad to me. I thought my wild child needed a kick of color outside of green. I took my time, tried to be as exact in my cutting as possible, at least as accurate as someone linearly like myself can hope to be.

I then sat around for a week or two trying to figure out how to match up squares and rows and what fabrics worked and what didn't and then banged my head on the table and screamed to the empty house, "It's a flippin' scrap quilt, don't think, sew, don't think, sew". And that's exactly what I did.

(if only my yard were ever as green as this quilt)

I took this picture this morning in the yard, a cloudy overcast 6:48a.m. shot, and I do believe some neighbors were peaking out their blinds wondering what the heck I was doing. I'm the weird, quirky, odd neighbor and I'm okay with that.

Here's another picture. I randomly sewed two squares together, then stacked them up in a pile, then I determined how many pairs of squares I'd need per row for a twin sized quilt, the number was 14 and then I started just sewing my pairs together. Once or twice I stopped and changed up a square or two but I didn't really think too hard about it. The top was going to be what it was going to be and I didn't want to plan it. I wanted a joyful, happy, scrappy mess--this means that no matter how I laid out the colors it would be a success, as long as it had the happy gene, the smile factor.

Last night when the spousal unit arrived home from a long day at work he saw the quilt top on the back of the couch and a huge smile spread across his face, "If the oldest son doesn't want it, I do". That right there is success.

This is the top stretched out on DS#1's bed, OMG, that room is a dark and scary place. But the top fits the bed and will be perfect when I add a border. I had been worried and so had the oldest son that this quilt had a girlie feel to it. I kept saying groovy, not girlie, GROOVY I tell ya.

The two fabrics above are the ones he finds most offensive, particularly the one on the bottom. I had yardage of that, whoops! The top fabric, yeah I knew it was girlie. I get it, but it sure made me happy to cut it up into those four inch squares. It's the one fabric that is me in the quilt, so I left it. We have named this quilt, The Girlie Man.

Next up is a quilt for the middle son which will be a mix of old jeans, plaid shorts, some cut up button down striped shirts, maybe some osnaburg fabric and a few blue prints thrown in. I plan to make it similar to this quilt:

Pleasant View Schoolhouse: Another Scrap Quilt: Someone Stop Me!

I like the 3x6 retangles a lot. It may end up being a hot mess trying to use denim but I'm going to try. Worse case scenario, I'll need to swap out the denim for some dark blue solid fabric.

Then a scrappy quilt with blue as the dominate color for DS #3.

If you have been wanting to try piecing but decided it's above your skill level or too fussy, or too hard, I beg you to just jump in and let go. The quilt doesn't have to be fancy, use stashed fabrics, try to do it right but don't fret if seams don't match up exactly or if there's a bit of puckering. I loved this project so much. I took my time cutting, I pinned it to death just before sewing, and I still got puckering, I still didn't sew perfectly straight but I tried, I tried so hard and that's all that matters. My biggest obsession was trying to keep matching fabrics from popping up next to each other. It was impossible, to let go of that control, to just jump in and sew strips of squares together and see what turned up where, it was fun and liberating.

This quilt couldn't be more basic:

4 inch squares

14 to a row

21 or 23 rows of squares

That's it.

From the Cross Stitch Pile:

Progress on La D Da's In the Garden. This is taking forever! I'm finally down to a bit of filling in and the border. Maybe I'll have this finished by the weekend.

Monday, November 01, 2010

November Manifesto

Before I get to my November Manifesto, I had two final finishes for October. Stacy Nash's Jack Treat Bag and Hallows Eve pinkeep:

Jack Treat Bag
Hallows Eve Pinkeep
32ct antique white linen
Fabric aged by moi
Back of Jack Treat Bag

Fabric used for lining treat bag
Backing fabric for pinkeep-yeah, my homespun has a touch of bling, that's how I roll

November Manifesto
My plans for November are many:
1)Finish Primitive Needle's Black'd Skie
2)Make solid progress on Scarlet Letter's Emma Lerch
3)Finish the oldest son's Christmas stocking-Drawn Thread's Stefan's Christmas Stocking
4)Start the middle and youngest son's stockings-still debating a pattern for the middle son but the youngest has chosen BOAF's Wish Upon a Star Christmas Stocking.
5)Stitch some ornaments(designs and who they are for to be determined later)
There are probably more but right now these are at the top of the stitching priority list.
The other goal is to finish Nanowrimo this year. I have a writing schedule, I know the story I want to tell and with the oldest son finally employed I can do it. I am allowing myself a shitty first draft, thank you Annie Lamott and I'm just going to do it. I have a series planned, I know the stories of the first three books, I have a YA spinoff series and a prequel series and another spin off series. I just need to not have to share a computer and now for five hours Mon-Thurs I don't have to. I am going to do this. If everything goes as planned, of course it won't, I'll finish the first draft early, won't look at it again until January. Then I'll rewrite, then let a few friends read it, then rewrite it again, then see if my agent is interested and since she doesn't represent this kind of book, she won't be, then I begin the search for an agent. I have seen this book published, It will happen.
Anyone remember that scene from An Officer and a Gentleman where Debra Winger tells Richard Gere that if he sees himself flying jets it'll happen? Yeah, my life's philosophy based on a movie. If you see it, it will happen. My mantra. Kind of like George Costanza's "If you believe it, it's true" philosophy.
Happy November 1st!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Taste of October

It's been dark and dreary here most of the day so taking a decent picture, for someone already camera challenged, well, I did the best the I could. Below is my table centerpiece, such that it is. The two pinkeeps are from Notforgotten Farm's Three Pinkeeps chart. I hope I have the name correct. The crow was stitched on a silvery gray fabric, 32ct I think, and then coffee stained. "I Told You I Was Sick" is on good old 32ct antique white. I stuffed them both with walnut litter available at your local pet store. I can never decide how good to stuff them. I think the tombstone could have used a tablespoon more litter.
click to make bigger
The piece above is Shadows of a Thousand Years by Jennifer Taylor Gass. The white fabric to the right is the original color before I dunked it in coffee and baked it in the oven for a little bit.

Near Halloween
The Primitive Needle
32ct Picture This Plus Dill
WDW Floss
(click to make bigger)
Above you see Primitive Needle's Near Halloween(Designs - The Primitive Needle). I really thought I got a better picture of this, even with the dark and dreary afternoon light but apparently my camera is getting ready to kiss me goodbye.

And posing with my Notforgotten Farm pinkeeps is my Lolita Queen of the Dead needle attracter(yeah probably not a word but I'm not sure if the term needleminder is trademarked, so work with me ok?) I saw the cabochon and had to have it. A touch of glue, a super magnet and viola, a needle sucker of my own making.
I hope to have a few more things to show by Halloween day but we'll see how that goes. It's been hard to be in an autumnal frame of mind with the temperature being in the mid-80s and the humidity at 100%, it's like the middle of July down here. I'm ready for some cooler weather. I'm sick and tired of being hot.
If I don't see ya'll before, may the Great Pumpkin see how truly sincere your pumpkin patches are and shower you all with candy and stitching stuff.

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Process is Very Organic

Isn't that what designers tell Tim Gunn when they don't have a clue what they are doing? I've been toying with an idea for a sampler for a while but have been very lazy about actually doing something about it because my artistic skilz are nonexistent but I wanted this piece to be mine from the verse to the design elements. So like I usually do, instead of jumping in with a feeling of joy and adventure and a "que sera sera" mindset, I just avoid it all together. I mean it's not like I don't have a million other things to stitch. So the other day I started digging through the stash trying to find my cross stitch font book, of course it was no where to be found. I had figured out my first verse and wanted to jump in it if you know what I mean. So I pulled out my Woman's Day Guide to American Needlework by Rose Wilder Lane and found a sampler I liked and modified my letters from those in the sampler.

I charted out the words on some graph paper I printed out from the Cyberstitchers site.

The moon face is actually a sun face I took from Here Be Wyverns by Nancy Spies. The current debate around my house is whether to make the moon actually round or leave his face floating out there. Right now I'm thinking about leaving him as is because I'm having issues charting a circle, it's wonky as all get out and I'm pretty sure when the stitchin's done I'll be dyeing my fabric so stitching the moon or outlining the moon is a decision I can make later.

My No Name Sampler
32ct antique white(until I dye it)
DMC 310
I freehanded the waves and basically just started stitching and frogging until I got a shape I liked. I did mention this whole process is organic right?

My witch silhouette was a doodle, then I tried to chart the outline and then stitch her from that. She's not perfect but just attempting this got me out of my comfort zone which is a good thing, I think.

Good or bad the verse is 100% mine. I'm struggling with my second verse and the scene so I've set it aside to work on Primitive Needle's Tis Halloween and Scarlet Letter's Emma Lerch.

All I'll say about Market is OMG, I have to have all of the new Primitive Needle designs, I love Plum Street Sampler's Sea Hag and the Prairie Moon Halloween sampler.

Don't forget to check out Missy Ann's blog for the 31 Days of Halloween giveaway extravaganza!

Friday, October 01, 2010

My Wednesday was Wicked

Wednesday from here on out, at least until I get bored with the idea, will be known as Wicked Wednesday. That means I can stitch on Halloween/Autumn/tombstone designs or Adam & Eve designs because I was raised Southern Baptist and well that serpent is the epitomy of wicked according to some powers that be. Work with me here because this gives me an option of switching from Autumn themed stitching to A&E and gives me an out when I'm tired of orange and falling leaves, not that I can ever see that happening but one never knows which way the cross stitch wind might be blowing.

Wednesday night after working on La D Da's In the Garden and Notforgotten Farm's Halloween Queen I had the strangest dream. You see the snake? You see my Pumpkinheaded Queen? Well in my dream they were chasing me. The dogs woke me up at 2 a.m. which is why I don't know if they ever caught me but let me tell you I woke up sweating and exhausted. See the snake below? He was chasing me in his coiled around Eve shape. Eve was no where to be found so he was kind of bouncing like a Slinky or sproingy springy kind of thing. Yes, it was as weird as it sounds. And no I did not drop any acid before bedtime. If I had I suspect his coloring might have been a bit more vivid.
The Halloween Queen a.k.a. Pumpkinheaded Queen was chasing me and trying to hit me with the branch she is holding that I haven't stitched yet. I was kind of freakin' when I woke up because it was so real. I'm not sure why these two decided to work together to torment my subconscious but they made a great team!

Here's a close up of my Halloween Queen. I love this design so much. The designer is Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm.

It was a little breezy today so I pulled out some books to help hold down the Queen during her photo shoot because I wasn't in the mood to whacked with a stick or for her to blow off the table and get dirty. I have enough dog and cat hair issues to add outside dirt to the equation.

Here's my progress on La D Da's In the Garden. I'm loving this piece too. I have trouble every day deciding which of these projects to work on. So far I've been splitting my stitching time between them and it seems to be working well for the time being.
This being October 1st and all, don't forget to stop by Missy Ann's blog for the 31 Days of Halloween extravaganza.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Stitching, Some Finishing

Gift Box
My recent stitching time has been devoted to finishing a gift for my friend.
There's no better way to show a friend how much I love them than gifting them with some of my hideous attempts at finishing. I only took three pictures because I gave it to her while the glue was still drying because 1) We have kittens and the box would not have survived the night and 2) I wanted it out of my house! Here is the box top complete with pins. It's straighter than it looks in the picture, I promise. Really! Seriously!
Friendship is a Sheltering Tree
Prairie Schooler
25 or 28ct Lugana(I thought it was 28 but I'm pretty sure it's 25ct.)
I think the pins are making it look not so straight. Attaching trim is not one of my strong points and I kept asking the spousal unit if it would be wrong to give Pam the box and trim and a bottle of glue and tell that I'm sure she could do a better job than me. He said that would be major, big time tacky, especially since she had to line the patchwork bag I gifted her with since I had a sewing meltdown. I perservered and got this finished despite not being quite satisfied with the finished result but it is what it is and she knows I made it with love and I should add that I was only ten days late. Go me!

Lady Bug Scissor Fob
Fairy Needleminder that I made

Close up of needleminder

Despite the stress of being the single worst finisher in the world, I enjoyed this project. The box is painted a dark blue, think one of the DMC 920 something series. I can't recall the exact number at the moment.
But it was a relief to take it over to her house wet glue and all. Am I the only one that feels like rainbows and unicorns when a handmade gift is done and out of the house, like "whew, now I can get on with my life"?
I got this idea when I saw a box Missy Ann made for a swap a while back, Lookie what I made!
My box is not near as nice as the one she made and I ended up kind of doing my own thing. I read different tutorials online and basically stretched the stitching over some batting and mat board and glued it down. I think next time I'll go with lacing but I am linearly challenged and thought the glue might be my best bet. I also left too much fabric on the back but I have been screwed one too many times cutting my fabric too close only to realize an extra 1/4 of an inch or even an 1/8th of an inch could have made all the difference. The fob is stitched on 32ct Belfast and I found the freebie chart online. And now I can't find the website. I hate when I do that. I want to say it was at but I could be wrong.
I made the needleminder from a cabochon I found online.
Thanks again to Missy Ann for her help and inspiration.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not Necessarily Blooming

Today I was pondering the messiness of my house, how to weed through the crap, when it dawned on me for a very long time I have not been blooming where I'm planted. I've kind of been spreading crap across my universe much like weeds in a flowerbed.

That thought, that I was the weed instead of the flower in my world, well, it woke me up. I have been thinking a lot recently about changes that need to be made to make the home life better, the bank account more balanced, my body for that matter more balanced and thanks to the on set of perimenupause, something has to be done to be sure that I do not allow the crazy to wrap it's arms around me too tightly. Lately I have felt that a dive into complete and total crazy was no farther away than to step through a doorway.

I guess knowing that the crazy is right there ringing the doorbell is a good thing but with this whole perimenupause thing it comes over me like a rogue wave. One moment I'm calm, doing something completely normal and the next thing I know, I'm in the fetal position in the middle of the living room floor sobbing like there's no tomorrow. I've been having a lot of days where I just want to stick my head in the oven and call it good.

So that's where I've been, how's things in all y'all's worlds?

A R.O.A.K.

The other day I came home from schlepping people here and there and what did I see but a package on my doorstep. I hadn't ordered anything that I could recall, and then I recognised the return address on the package and wondered what in the world this stitching friend had sent me. I opened the package to find what you see pictured below:

I so heart the pink skull and crossbones. The chart is By the Bay's Santa at the Seashore, there's a bright skull and crossbones notebook for making lists of all those projects I never seem to finish and some Sugar & Cream cotton for knitting some handy dandy warshrags. Thank you so much Jeanne! With all you have going on in your life, to think of me, well it just left me verklempt.

Speaking of projects, I did finally manage to finish something:

A Haunting Mermaid
Carriage House Samplings
36ct Flax(I think)

I have no idea why it took me so long to get around to stitching this piece. I love her and the colors are perfect to hang with my Mairmaid's Song and Sirens of the Sea(also CHS). I will admit to one very sad moment, I had twittered that the piece was finished, only to realize a few hours later that I had forgotten all the background stitching on the three bands. I was devastated. I was so ready to have this DONE. But I finally sucked it up, did a stitching marathon, got to love Peter Jackson for making the Lord of the Rings trilogy the single longest movie marathon in the history of the world.

Remember that pile of letters from a previous post? Well this is what I did with them:

I was inspired by this post:
I have always loved the saying, "Always Kiss Me Goodnight" and had planned to buy a sign to hang over the closet door but then I saw Floresita's Feliz and thought what a neat idea. So I spent a day or so tracing and cutting out letters, no fancy Cricut here, then I sewed the letters to the felt and then decided the words "kiss me" needed something so then I did some lips. The ribbon is red with white polka dots. Yeah, it's kind of artsy craftsy even kindergartenish but seeing it makes me smile.
And when I say kindergartenish I'm pretty sure any kindergartener on the planet could have done a better job than me. I hated school projects! Still do!
This reminded me very much of a school project or teacher bulletin board project while I was doing all that cutting.
Know all those jokes about "How to Bath a Cat"?

No kittens were harmed in the taking of these pictures!

How about the dishwasher? I had just emptied the dishwahser when I noticed Mittens and Katie jumping around inside.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Arts & Crafts

Long time no write! How ya'll doing?

Yes, I've been stitching but more about that in a bit. Along with stitching I've been haunting thrift stores for supplies for future projects. On one of those outings I saw this sweet frame. Admittedly I'm not really about the "sweet" or the "precious". I was more about the shape and how it resembled a tombstone. Don't you see the goth potential here?

So I bought it, for like a $1, brought it home and stitched up CHS Phoebe Brown. The frame was way too large for little Phoebe so I ran across a frame at T. J. Maxx and it's just the right size, that would be the needlework piece to your left in the picture below:

The needlework on the right is CHS Hannah Skinner. I can't decide if it can be fit to the frame or if I need to go in search of another frame. There's a close up below:

Yes, I chipped it while trying to make Hannah fit, so it's already in need of a touch up.

Although after seeing what Kim did with her copper paint and antique patina, I'm wondering if this frame might be worthy of a do-over. I think the black paint stain made it more tombstoney, but that verdigris would look all mossy and more graveyard like don't ya think?

Here's a close up of Phoebe. I'm debating aging this frame. $4 at T. J. Maxx can't beat that price.

Felt Scrabble tiles? No, I've been playing around with an idea for a banner. Maybe I'll have a finished picture of that later this week. Right now I'm debating to pink or not to pink? With the pinking shears that is.
I have a crazy long list of projects I want to work on and complete and every day my list gets a little longer. I really need some time management skilz because right now I'm making lists more than doing anything productive.

Here's the high schooler:

He was so thrilled to be starting school, can you tell? The spousal unit and I are excited that he didn't burst into flames when the sun touched his skin. He spent his vacation in the Land of XBOX but now that he's gone back to school I worry that the world will be overrun with zombies. I'm 100% sure that his dedication to the Land of XBOX kept us all safe these last eight weeks or so.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hot Hot Hot!

Even though I was born and raised in the south this summer has just about done me in. A house built of ice in the Artic Circle is looking mighty good these days. I didn't know the air could get so thick!

I thought I would have a finish to show you all, I even tweeted that I had a finish, only to have to be a takerbacker when I realized I missed the whole bottom band of the sampler and forgot to do the background fill in work on two bands. YIKES! I reckon I was ready to be done with that project!

There really isn't much going around these parts at the moment. I'm doing lots of stitching because it's too hot to do anything else. I should be cleaning but we need to paint and I want to rearrange furniture and pictures on the walls and I've been looking at various albums where people show their stitching and home decor and I really want to know why one person can hang a picture on a wall and stick some knick knacks around it and it looks awesome and I swear I could hang the exact same picture, have similiar knick knacks and it look like a pile of junk? I have been searching for my inner style and I have concluded that it just doesn't exist.

I mean people can have old peeling paint furniture in their homes and it looks awesome, I have the same furniture in my house and it just makes me look, oh, how do I put this, poor. It has no style, makes no statement other than "this person can't afford new furniture or a bucket of paint". The same piece in someone else's home is charming. How do they do that?

Speaking of decorating I saw these:

desire to inspire - - Flickr finds - embroidery hoops

Then became obsessed with this particular picture:

fabric hoop bulletin board Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Went in search of a tutorial and found one here:

DIY: Embroidery Hoop Corkboard or here:

sweet jessie: Put a Cork in it

I thought these were just the coolest thing. Perfect bulletin board for someone who loves needle, thread, hoop. So I put these on my list for making in the not too distant future. I want a couple for the kitchen and a couple to go over my workspace in my bedroom. Yes, I'm aware that people have been using fabric prints in hoops as wall decor for a while now but it didn't really make sense to me(back to the old they can do it and it look cool, I do it and it looks dumb) but the bulletin board twist sucked me in. It all made sense. Something useful and pretty.

I've also been thinking a lot about my mermaid stitching. I've stitched quite a few with more to go, I have several Heaven and Earth Designs mermaids from various artists along with more primitive mermaids and the Mirabila mermaids to all mix in together. I started wondering, if I lived in a log cabin in Idaho would I still hang my mermaids, would they be relevant to that life style? I decided that yes they would.

I stitch what I love, what inspires me, what makes me dream while stitching, kind of like a good book. Part of the reason I enjoy reproduction samplers is thinking about what the original stitcher was thinking when she mapped out her sampler or chose the colors. I'm getting ready to start Emma Lerch from the Scarlet Letter and I've been thinking a lot about her funky pink house and what made her stitch her house that color. I mean a pink house in today's Florida isn't unheard of but Emma was in Pennsylvania in 1830 and it's possible that the peachy rose color was as close to stone or brick that she could find but I like thinking that she reached for that color for no other reason than it made her happy. Maybe she was from a somber household where her world was mostly gray and dark and choosing the pink for the house was her way of rebelling.

Yes, once I again I show you, the reader, that I have no life.

In other news we watched Kick Ass last night. I love that movie. We saw it at the movie house and I couldn't wait to get it when it came out on DVD. Fun, fun, fun.

I'm listening to the Tale of Halcyon Crane(Wendy Webb) at the moment and reading The Girl Who Chased the Moon(Sarah Addison Allen). On my nook I'm reading Patriot Witch by CC Finlay.

If you're looking for a very different way to prepare summer squash last night for supper I made:

Summer squash enchiladas Homesick Texan

I used Ancho Chiles because that's what I could find at Publix without having to make a trip to the Tienda. Very spicy and very good. I think adding some sweet corn to the filling would be a nice addition. If you can't find the dried peppers I had considered making it with canned enchilada sauce as the base and working from there. I wasn't sure it would work but that was my option if I couldn't find the ancho chiles. This was a very filling vegetarian meal.

Yesterday I was channel surfing and came across the Duggars at Pinnacle Mountian State Park in Little Rock. I almost cried. We spent a lot of time at that park when we lived in Arkansas. Sure the mountian is only 1,100 feet but we climbed it often, spent a lot of time there with the boys and I climbed it when I was eight months pregnant with my now 14 year old.

I started thinking about the girl I used to be. I am an outdoorsy girl not be confused with athletic. I love being outside. I'd rather sit under a tree and read a book or stitch than just about anything. I love hiking and walking through the woods(in Florida that can be dangerous as we have scary poisionous snakes-not a lot of woodsy hiking for me at the moment). I think that's why gyms just don't do it for me. If I'm going to walk I want to experience the outside, the woods, the sights, the activity outdoors. It's been too hot to be outside much this summer. I miss it and I miss the girl I used to be. The girl who went hiking on weekends. The girl who kept a backpack ready to go with water and energy bars(usually bite size Snickers--we're talking 16 years ago). I miss my crunchy granola inner hippie. Somewhere along the line I became one of those people that just, I don't know, exists. I've been reflecting a lot on where I was 20 years ago and where I am now, physically more than anything but I plan to get back to walking because I want to feel good. I'll never be skinny and that's not really my goal. I just want to be healthy. I want to reclaim my inner outdoorsy chick and I hate that I'm such a wimp that sitting outside reading a book is just the worst thing I could think of doing these days much walking in the heat. It's been bad this summer.

I also have been reading more and more about growing my own food and learning more about canning and living off the grid. You know, so I can stick it to "the man".

A few things I'm going to focus on over the next few months:

Walking more, period, getting over myself and the heat and just doing it.

Getting back to more whole foods eating.

Learning how to make biscuits, why didn't I let my Mamaw teach me? Because back then I was going to grow up and have a chef. (This would be in my Harlequin Romance phase, I so bought into that dream!)

Simplify things around the house. We toss out stuff every so often but we still have a lot crap that serves no purpose. Then again there are boxes in the garage that might just hold some treasures I've forgotten about. Never know until I start digging through them.

Work more on my sewing skilz. I really want to work on sewing clothes. Why didn't I let my aunt teach me to sew back in the day? (Because I was going to live in France and wear couture) I didn't see the creativity in sewing clothes, it seemed so practical, so functional. Now as I read sewing blogs and see what people do with patterns or how they make their own patterns and how they use fabric with the pattern. I so get it.

Work on my quilting/piecing skilz. I'm dying to make a quilt like this:

Wild Geese Quilt-Along « Bloomin’ Workshop

My Paintbox squares Oh, Fransson!: How to Make Paintbox Blocks got put on hold when I went to my mom's and I decided I'm going to make a few more blocks and then turn them into a table runner.

This has turned in to quite the long rambling post so I'll end here. Keep your fingers crossed I get those final stitches in A Haunting Mermaid soon. I want to move her out of the WIP pile into the finished pile.

Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Finish and Some Works in Progress

A new blog post, shocking, huh? Always the unexpected around here. The Monkey Sampler
Midsummer Night Designs
28ct Sandcastle Lugana

According to my records I finished Midsummer Night's Monkey Sampler on July 21st.

This has been my take along project for a LOOOONNNNGGGG time. It was pretty much the only project I worked on while I was at my momma's since it's stitched on 28ct and I could see the holes in the fabric even in the poor lighting. That green yard just about did me in but I perservered and now it's finished! It always feels so good to put those last stitches in a project. Then again, it takes me forever to finish a project so a lot of life happens while all that stitching is being done. This project has been to Tennessee twice, once when I went home for my dad's memorial service and the second time most recently when I went to stay a week with my mother when she was released from the rehab center. She has COPD and had to learn how to breathe again, and also to learn how to live with her new best friend, her oxygen tank. This particular project has also seen a lot of time at Panera while I wait on kids to do whatever it is kids find to do at the mall for hours on end.

Liberty Sampler
Hester's Needle
32ct Natural (or maybe Raw) linen

My new take along project can be seen above, Hester's Needle's Liberty Sampler. I really thought I was farther along on this than I am. Let's keep our fingers crossed that there's a lot more quality Panera time in my future.
When I started this piece a few years ago I wasn't quite ready for the satin stitched band so I just did good old cross stitches. I debated frogging this band and stitching it as charted and then my sanity surfaced and I decided I liked the little Xs just fine thank you very much.

Rachael Holmes
Heartstring Samplery
32ct dyed by me linen(more aged actually)
A Potpourri of fiber from the stash

Heartstring Samplery's Rachael Holmes is seeing a lot of stitching time at the moment. This is a fun sampler and I got over myself and just pulled threads from the stash to see what would work with Beth's color palette. It's kind of liberating to pull out the handy dandy DMC color card, a fiber conversion lists and dig through the stash and find what works.

Black'd Skie
The Primitive Needle
40ct Vintage Pear
Pure Palette Silks

This is my progress on Black'd Skie. It's been a bit slow for me but it's due more to having the wrong magnification of readers, I was using 2.00 and that's just way too strong. I had misplaced my 1.50 and those 2.00's gave me a headache every single time I tried to stitch. So I found my 1.50 and now I'm back to happy headache free stitching.
I love the Pure Palette Silks. I am not an expert on silks, I rarely use them, but I really love stitching with these.

Halloween Queen
Notforgotten Farm
28 or 32ct fabric from the stash(it was unlabeled)

A few weeks ago I started a project that's been on my to do list for a year or two. Notforgotten Farm's Halloween Queen. I found a piece of linen in the stash and gave in to the urge and made a good start on the Halloween Queen.

In the Garden
La D Da
36 or 40ct Lambswool(that's a guess)

And another project seeing a lot of needle time, La D Da's In the Garden. This is another project I've had the chart for for ages and decided to see if I had a piece of fabric that would work and dug around in the old fabric drawer until I came upon this piece that I'm pretty sure is 40ct lambswool but it's possible it's 36ct. I did a floss toss and decided this could work. I had thought about using GAST but didn't have all five colors so decided to go with DMC.

Last week I made my first trip to Needle Delights, my LNS, in ages. It felt like coming home. I dropped off three pieces for framing, my Cape Cod Girls(changed to Gulf Coast Girls), Salem Remembered and my 13th Colony Bay. I ended up bringing my 13th Colony Bay home with me for a bath. I had no idea it was so dirty until Tonia put it under the light on the framing table. OMG! I wanted to throw up it was so dirty. I was extra, extra glad I stitched 13th Colony Bay with DMC because washing it was no problem and I was mortified at how dirty it was. I thought I had been careful, kept it tucked away in a baggie in a drawer but I did stitch on it forever and I stitch outside when it's nice. I enjoy stitching outside but this piece was definitely a wake up call that only DMC projects will be worked on while sitting on the porch or in the backyard from now on.

That's all the news from here at the moment. Hope everyone is managing to stay cool this summer because the air down here along the Gulf is a force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all USA readers of the blog! The spousal unit and I took an early morning drive east and found ourselves in the picturesque little hamlet of Seaside, Florida. It's a pretty little seaside town, aptly named. This is their post office and it made my heart sing when I saw it all decked out in it's Fourth of July finery. I don't have a lot of red, white and blue in my home but I do love 1776 and all that jazz. BUT this morning seeing this sweet little post office and all the people representing in their red, white and blue, I almost cried because what I saw in Seaside was what the American experience used to be. They must have had a parade at 8 a.m. We didn't know anything about it and just drove in that direction. It was small town America at it's absolute best. People were smiling, laughing, the bookstore and all the local businesses were open, this was like 8:30 on a Sunday, in the South, and it was pretty cool.
Below you can see a shot of the beach at Seaside. Their shoreline is a bit different than ours. They have the white sands but have left their dunes untouched even with the building of homes and businesses. They have worked hard to leave as much of the natural world untouched as possible and still build a thriving little tourist town around it. While I am not a huge supporter of planned communites because I do believe to each his own Seaside does it quite well, mixing in the planned neighborhood along with funky eateries and art shops. If we ever win the lottery we are moving here. That's about the only way we will ever get there but we love the 30A lifestyle.
A couple of weeks of ago my friend Pam and I went to an estate sale. She scored a stack of art books and on the cover of one titled Artist's Journal there was a painting I loved. The original artwork was by JoSonja in 1997. Since the art magazine was all about learning to copy the art inside the magazine I hope JoSonja doesn't mind that I begged the Spousal Unit to please paint me that painting. Since it's Uncle Sam and Mermaids it seemed quite appropriate. Also he painted it for me, not to sell or anything and the only copyright notice I found was not to mechanically copy or reprint the artwork so I hope his painting doesn't violate any copyrights.

This was the best picture I could get this morning. I think he did a pretty great job!
Last week I went to my momma's to check on her. She had been in a rehab facility learning how to cope with her COPD and when she came home she was a bit overwhelmed so I went home for a week. I had intended to rent a car for the trip because we have kind of old vehicles and it's a long drive. Unfortunately the line at Enterprise Rent-a-car was really long, so we went to lunch. Somehow over club sandwiches and fries we went from renting a car to buying a new one. We pulled into the Kia lot thinking to buy a Sorrento, we love that sock monkey, and then we saw Enik! Six hours later he was coming home with us and then two days later I drove him to Tennessee. I hate how much I love this car.

For your viewing pleasure:
I tried to add the video to my blog but couldn't make it work so a link it is.
Have a happy and safe 4th!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Heat Index 104 And's not even July yet. I wonder if all the oil in the Gulf has anything to do with the heat, you know increasing the speed of global climate change?

I made a beach run this morning to check out the condition of the Gulf in my town since Okaloosa Island in Ft. Walton Beach was covered in tar balls yesterday. The pictures on the local news were just awful.

Photo Galleries : Northwest Florida Daily News

For more local news on the oil and just in case that link doesn't take you to the photos here's my local newspaper links and the local news channel:

Northwest Florida Daily News Pensacola News Journal Pensacola news, community, entertainment, y


But as you can see below in my fuzzy picture, not sure what happened, the ancient Coolpix just didn't want to focus this morning, but it could be haze from the heat too, anyway, the water is clear for the time being. There was a huge skimmer ship on the horizon and I tried several times to get a shot of it and they were all big time BLURRY. I gave up. And I'm posting the two pictures below this one all for the benefit of the Florida Department of Tourism:
The water is so clear at Gulf Islands National Seashore between Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach that you can see the shells. See them shells? Do you see them? The water is clean for the moment.

Look there's some toes in desperate need of a pedicure. But there is nary a tar ball floating around my feet.
I have learned a few things over the last couple of weeks. For most of my life I have been a huge supporter of Jackson Browne and his causes. What I never knew was how exhausting being an activist can be. It can take a toll on your life, your mental state and friendships. A week or so ago the spousal unit and I saw tar balls, many, many tar balls in the water and on the beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore. At the time I didn't have the oil on the shore or oil in the water numbers in my phone, at the time I didn't know we would be the only two people in the area to witness this. We took our crappy camera to CNN at Pensacola Beach and showed them but no one checked it out. We got busy with our real lives and I forgot to notify the local news, I thought I had taken care of it on a national level, I mean seriously.
I finally got around to posting a picture on my local news channel's Facebook page and one of the comments was "why didn't I show landmarks for exactly where I was". Excuse me, these beaches aren't named, they don't have bathrooms, much less a trash can. There are no landmarks, 20 miles of white sand and the occaisional parking lot here and there. I learned to be more specific about where I'm taking the picture.
Anyway, that particular weekend every time I mentioned oil or tar balls, friends would say, "Our beach is clear, quit whining, enjoy it while you can". While I appreciate clean beaches, I can't let go of what is happening and what can happen. Last week as tar balls and oil flooded Orange Beach, AL (or was it Gulf Shores?) Anyway, I heard a national news correspondent comment that people on Pensacola Beach were breathing a sigh of relief. A SIGH OF RELIEF? People this is not over, it hasn't even really gotten started good as far as coming ashore. We can't breathe sighs of relief, we need to yell, scream, holler and yes, pull our hair out because nothing is being done. After reading about the Mexican oil rig in the 70s I'm beginning to wonder if anything can be done beyond letting the well empty itself out.
I'm beyond frustrated with the governor of Mississippi. He's like the mayor of Amity in the first Jaws movie. He will not believe the oil is a problem until a big black tidal wave washes ashore in Gulf Port. I understand he wants people to come to their beaches, I understand that their beaches are clear, run some tourism commercials then but quit acting like the rest of us are making up the possibility of something catastrophic being out there just on our horizon. It is very real.
I heard this morning that there might be a 40 mile dead zone in the Gulf. Do you know how much sea life resides in 40 miles of water? I don't have exact numbers but let's go with A LOT.
We have lived here 13 years this July 4th. We do not see dolphins every time we go to the beach. It is so infrequent that when we see a dolphin we squeal like tourists, it's that rare for us. Every single time we have been to the beach in the last few weeks we have seen dolphins. And not just a random loner dolphin, we've seen pods of them. I hope Mother Nature is keeping them safe from the oil, keeping them ahead of the deluge. I've seen so many dolphins lately that I no longer think it's exciting, I'm starting to think it's creepy. That's how rarely we saw them before now. I see them so much that it's creepy.
Last night we were at the pier and a guy caught a shark. It didn't hold the normal excitement for me. It was bittersweet. There was one part of me that thought, "wow he caught a shark, cool" another part that said, "well at least he saved it from death by oil" and then my final thought was, "what if this little guy is one of the last of his kind". Shouldn't the healthy fish be left alone for now? Shouldn't they be given a chance to get to safe waters and mate and breed and survive?
I've never been a person that thought animals, especially fish, shouldn't be eaten but now as more and more sea life is endangered due to oil and tar balls and dispersants, maybe we should let them be. I know right now while everyone says Gulf seafood is safe, I think for the time being when I get my fish and shrimp cravings I'll take my chances with good old Captain D's or Red Lobster. I hate to not support my local fish markets but I'm erring on the side of caution.
60 Blocks of Summer Challenge
I joined The 60 Blocks of Summer challenge on Flickr. My first two blocks can be seen below:

I made these blocks using the tutorial found here:
I thought this challenge would be a good way for me to become besties with my rotary cutter, ruler and sewing machine. I don't have a specific project in mind and honestly my fabric stash is pretty random so I'm just going to work on different squares and see what happens. I may get a sample quilt out of the challenge or lots of smaller projects. Either way my sewing skilz should improve immensely.
I forgot to take an updated picture of my A Haunting Mermaid from Carriage House Samplings so I'll do that another day. I have made a tiny bit of progress, I mentioned how time consuming being an activist is didn't I?